Day 3 – September 29, 2016 – Thursday
Since it was clear and still out, after my usual dinner last night at McDonald’s, I headed to the Chapel of the Transformation, but at first, couldn’t find it because it was so dark and didn’t even see it from the parking area. But when I finally saw it, it was not very photogenic, so I took the Milky Way with a few young trees lit up with my headlamp. I used the tungsten setting because, for me, the brown coloring of the shot using the daylight white balance isn’t as appealing as the bluish tint with tungsten. I found that, when you are completely alone in a very dark place, nothing is so loud as the car alarm!! It scared the hell out of me. I managed to do this three times by hitting the wrong button on the key fob, but it probably scared off any wild animals. By the time I was done there, it was 1230am, so I decided not to make the long drive back to the campsite, but go directly to Schwabacher’s and get a few hours sleep. Finally got into the sleeping bag around 1am, but it wasn’t long before I heard the first car at about 5:20am. So it was time to get up and out to get the spot I scouted there yesterday before the photo hordes arrive. It wasn’t much later when the big groups began to arrive and one of the first decided to park right next to me so close that his tripod leg overlapped mine!! Maybe I took his spot. There were still stars out and I could see a few wispy clouds and I began to get excited in the anticipation of a good sunrise when clouds started to drift in from the south which would have been even better, but they filled in the east as well, blocking any of the first light hitting the peaks. But there were interesting clouds coming through, but best of all, there were a few rainbows. One popped up after I was heading toward the car but managed to find a spot with it reflected in one of the many beaver ponds there (I saw two beaver this morning), but no rainbows appeared in front of the cathedral group. Then it began to rain more steadily overhead instead of being further west, so it was time for breakfast.
I headed toward Mormon Row, the famous barns there to check them out. I had planned to do them at night and actually should have done so last night while it was clear and no moon. Then back to the Capel from last night to see the interior and just managed to get some HDR in before not one, but two tourist busses emptied out into this tiny church! it’s cloudy with showers, but at least it is not a continuous rain. I discovered one of my camera batteries was pretty low already, so I spent time at Jenny Lake Lodge to recharge it, but found it to be much smaller than the great lodges of Yellowstone, etc.
After the recharge, I continued on the one-way Jenny Lake Loop and stopped at the overlook. That’s when the lake went from calm to a raging sea of whitecaps, wind and the rain began, continuing through evening. Around 6pm I saw a faint lightening around Mount Moran and hoped it might keep moving east. I drove up to Willow Flats Overlook for that massive view but it continued to rain. I tried being an optimist and got out my umbrella connection for the tripod and put it on in a hurry as the light was changing for the better and I kept my fingers crossed. I did miss a good beam of light by Mt. Moran but managed to get the umbrella up and started shooting. I did some vertical panoramas with the camera horizontal. I did the flats and got a good exposure and then did the sky and will blend them together. Then I did horizontal panos of the whole range in two rows, one row for the sky and mountains and another row for the flats…all the time under the umbrella while it rained. I was hoping for the clouds to light up, but it just didn’t happen. That would have been spectacular, but what I got should be OK if I can get them all blended together.
No campsite tonight though, I drove to Jackson Lake Lodge and this is the one I was looking for: a huge lounge with massive windows and a complete view of the Teton Range. Stunning!! So this is where I’ll spend part of the evening and if it has cleared and the stars are out, I will shoot the barns and the Milky Way before heading for the sleeping bag. I just hope the rain has moved on, but the forecast says otherwise…we’ll see.